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Tips for Planning a First Date and Making a Great Impression

These are a couple of logistics to take into consideration when planning a first date.

close up of man and woman clinking glasses with red wine

So you’re ready to plan a first date—exciting! The first date can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be. If you make the logistics of a first date go as smoothly as possible, then you can focus on the date itself. With a little planning, you can find a fun and engaging activity that will help you get to know your date and have a great time. No matter what you choose to do, make sure it’s something that you’re both interested in and that will allow you get to know each other better. (Here’s a huge list of date ideas to look through.) The most important thing is to try to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. That’s the obvious advice—now onto some logistics and considerations people often miss. Here are some several reminders and tips for planning a first date to help make it go as smoothly as possible.

1. Look for common ground.

Before suggesting a specific date idea, review what your date has said in your initial messaging and in their profile to get some inspiration or ideas for dates. Maybe they mention trying to do dry January—and you know a bar with great non-alcoholic cocktails. Or maybe they mention loving a specific local sports team—and you’ve been wanting to go to a game too. Noticing these kinds of details will make you look thoughtful and help your date feel comfortable and excited about the date.

2.Be mindful of weather.

water dew in clear glass panel

Choose an activity that is appropriate for the time of day and the weather. Nothing is worse than planning a picnic, only to get rained out. Many-a-date has been canceled and not rescheduled this way. And remember that different people have different tolerances for certain types of weather.

3. Balance spontaneity & planning.

close up photo of yearly planner used for planning a first date

Try not to plan too far in advance, or a date immediately. A date in a couple of days is ideal, if you and your date’s schedule permits. But still be open to spontaneity—maybe your date happens to be in your neighborhood tomorrow—might as well say hi.

4. Pick a safe location.

crowd on the subway

Make sure the location is safe and accessible. Ideally, it should be somewhere public that both parties can get to and leave from on their own. If you want to be a gentleman or a gentlewoman, you can ask your date if they would like or need a ride. But we advocate for being in charge of your own transportation for safety reasons.

5. Plan the time and date carefully.

woman looking at her watch

Be respectful of your date’s time and preferences–don’t plan a date that goes on all night if they’ve indicated they only have an hour or two. Plus, you want to make it easy for yourself if the date is a total disaster.

6. Communicate restrictions beforehand.

sliced tomato and avocado on white plate

Communicate any potential restrictions, such as specific dietary needs or limits on physical activity ahead of time. If you’re the one planning, ask your date. No bringing vegans to a steakhouse!

7. Communicate dress codes & follow them.

close up photo of hang clothes in wardrobe

If your date isn’t familiar with the place you’ve chosen and there’s some kind of dress code, be sure to let them know. If they come under-dressed or over-dressed, it’s likely to be distracting to them. And the same goes for you—don’t forget to dress appropriately!

8. Give yourself time to arrive.

pexels-photo-359989.jpeg

If you’re trying to make a great first impression, don’t be that person that arrives twenty minutes late. When you can, try to arrive a little early—that way you can deal with any logistics like ticket-buying, seating, etc. and not make your first few minutes of the date about awkwardly

I hope these small details help you feel more confident in planning first dates and making them go as smoothly as possible. Follow our dating blog for more dating advice, and as always, happy dating.

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